Thursday, December 10, 2009

Technology and What it Means

Drea here for Thursday:D

2009 is wrapping up and we're heading into a new decade. There's been a lot of changes in the past ten years, most of which have been propelled by rapidly shifting technology. Writing, Publishing and marketing are not immune to these. Rather, their relevance has become quite marked as e-book sales rise and consumers buy more products online.

Amazon. The past few months have seen WalMart, Target and Sears cut prices on hardback books so dramatically that publishers have grown concerned over consumer price perception.

Nathan Bransford's blog

The fact that Amazon sells books at a loss is not something most customers clicking "add to cart" are thinking as the page gives way to credit and account information. But how can people compete with Amazon selling books at a grave discount?

Then there is Kindle and now nook. Barnes & Noble and Amazon will be bashing heads over e-reader sales as well as e-books and the rights to bully publishers. Publishers prefer the brick and mortar stores rather than the online giant, so they are attempting to curtail Amazon power by delaying the release of e-books. Shattkin details the ins an outs of it.
Or, if you prefer, the Wall Street Journal's version.

Then there is the massive self-publishing effort, which even Harlequin is getting in on with Harlequin Horizons. And the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) calls for Harlequin to prevent these books from being distributed to brick and mortar stores and so preventing them from entering the "real" fiction market.

What does this mean for writers?

Technology has made self-publishing so easy that vanity, POD and old-fashioned self-publishing are on the rise. Enough to get Harlequin in on the cash. Published authors worry about quality control, placing much value in the editing and marketing abilities of publishing companies.

Only, the combination of easy-to-make websites, blogs, social networking sites and conventions gives even self-published authors enough venues to do their own marketing. Classically, authors haven't had the time to do so much of these things. But with technology altering our communication methods, it changes.

E-books have grown in popularity and next year B&T will bring out a free software to read e-books they are to release (with their own e-reader). See: Blio

The catchy innovation here is that it will work on any device with an Operating System. PC, laptop, netbook, ipods and iphones --not Kindle. The competition is on. The trend is already begun.

The writer will see his/her books on more formats than ever before. Reading material is on its way to increased accessibility. However, the market is already inundated and with the changes in consumer habits old-fashioned marketing makes no sense. Put in those terms it makes sense that self-publishing is on the rise. But what's the answer? What thoughts do you have on promoting your book? Any ideas of new ways to utilize our knowledge to promote writing?

Where do you see the industry headed and why?


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